Spit Mechs 2 Launched

The second book in my children’s series launched today, ladies and gentlemen. At long last, SPIT MECHS 2: BAZ BALL is here for your reading enjoyment. I hope you and/or your child have as much fun reading it as I did writing it. If you like aliens, adventure and seeing fourth-graders get into galactic pickles (not literal galactic pickles, that would just be weird), this one’s for you.

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Free Spit Mechs Short Story Ebook

I wanted to write a free Spit Mechs short story for several reasons.

First, it gave me a chance to really dive into one of my favorite characters in the Spit Mechs universe (Jane Pemberton).

Second, I thought with a shorter side story, I could create an experience that takes place on a smaller scale than the other Spit Mechs books. Without giving anything away, this story takes place within the kids’ school, so we can learn more about their regular school life. (Well, not too regular. They are Spit Mechs after all.)

And last, it was a way for me to show some gratitude to my Spit Mechs fans. So thanks, guys!

To get your free ebook – SPIT MECHS 1.5 – simply sign up for emails from the author (that’s me). Click the link “SIGN UP FOR LAUNCHES & OFFERS” to get started. I promise you won’t get spammed. You’ll only receive emails from me here and there, and only related to my books (launches and offers, like the link says).

Or you can click right here.

(Important note: Don’t confuse this free ebook SPIT MECHS 1.5 with SPIT MECHS 2 – which is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and launches on July 1, 2017.)

Don’t Get Stuck Reading 100% of the Same Genre

Choice for the modern individual has evolved far from what it once was. Consider that major publishers in the U.S. alone publish about 300,000 books each year. Essentially, whatever your favorite genre of choice, you’ll never run out of good books to read.

And I think that’s dangerous. Books help us escape, certainly. But they also help us grow and better understand the word and the people around us.

Read outside your genre. Discover subjects and ways of thinking that you wouldn’t ordinarily consider. Be open.

Are you primarily a reader of science fiction and fantasy (like me)? Read a biography, or a memoir, or a book on wine tasting.

Here’s my suggestion, for every three books you would normally read, make that fourth book one out of your usual wheelhouse.

Spit Mechs 2 – Book Launch Announced

I am excited to announce that Spit Mechs 2 is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com. Release date is July 1, 2017. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed all the positive feedback I’ve received from kids and adults on Spit Mechs. Keep it coming.

In this humorous, adventurous sequel to Spit Mechs, genius fourth-grader Newton Beam and his friends, Jorge and Jane, don their super suits yet again. This time around, they’ve been challenged to a game of baz ball by the galactic champions and all-around alien meanies. They’re playing for the moon in this hilarious, winner-take-all match-up. The team will have to learn to work together to beat their brawling alien adversaries – or it’s good bye moon!

Be sure to sign up for future emails about book signings, offers and the like.

Pre-order Spit Mechs 2 now (or sooner).

Book Genres

FreeWrite Combines Electronic Advantage With Old World, Distraction-Free Simplicity

I’ve been following this interesting product called the FreeWrite since they put it up on Kickstarter. In a nutshell, the FreeWrite is a distraction-free writing tool. Astrohaus, the company that makes the FreeWrite, ran a sweepstakes over the holidays. And I actually won the sweepstakes. No really. Out of over 12,000 entries, they selected my name. So needless to say, I was excited to try out this innovative piece of hardware.

They managed to ship the machine to me in under a week. I received it just after Christmas. The FreeWrite looks a bit like those old word processors that were on the market just before personal computers became popular. I had a Smith Corona version in college for a few years. But it’s so much more (and less).

This machine uses an eInk screen to show your content. It uses pleasing mechanical-style keys for input and has very little in the way of interface other than the basic keyboard layout. While it does connect to wireless Internet, it’s only purpose for doing so is to upload what you’re writing to a file folder in the cloud (such as DropBox). This tool is only for writing. No editing. You can’t even cursor backward in your text. You just write. You don’t check Facebook, or your stocks, or watch YouTube. You just write.

I’ve already knocked out half a short story on the FreeWrite, and I have to say, I enjoyed the experience. It’s a little strange not being able to go back in your text, so that will take a little getting used to. But I’ve developed a notation, as such when I think of something to add, I just put it in brackets. Later, when editing, I’ll know to grab those added bits and re-insert them elsewhere.

But seriously, I think the power of free-flowing writing with no real distractions, writing that is miraculously saved elsewhere the instant you type it – I don’t think that magic can be underestimated.

Wired calls it “a blank piece of e-paper.” And that’s exactly it. Such an elegant description, so apt, and there is great power in that simple idea.

I’ve read a few reviews of the FreeWrite online that don’t seem to get what it is. Look, if you have no need for a “distraction-free writing tool,” that’s fine. It’s a niche need. But just because I still have both legs doesn’t mean I’m going to start writing scathing reviews of every prosthetic leg product I can find.

In all fairness to struggling writers out there, the current price tag might be considered high. And I was oh-so-fortunate enough to get mine for free (so grateful, this is me being grateful). Clearly, the cost per machine is driven by the FreeWrite’s high-quality materials (aluminum body, eInk screen and Cherry MX keyboard), which I definitely appreciate. But that aside, I wholly recommend the FreeWrite, and I think there’s hope that if the FreeWrite catches on within the writer community – and why wouldn’t it – that price could come down some in the future.

On its website, Astrohaus claims the FreeWrite will double your hourly word count. I can’t help but believe it.

Snowball or the Need to Tell Stories

Consciously, I knew I wanted to be a writer since the 11th grade. I had a wonderful English teacher, Connie Nokes, who made literary elements like symbolism, allegories and foreshadowing come alive for me. I had already written a few (horrible) short stories at that point, and I remember something clicked.  I wanted to be a creative writer when I grew up. I just knew it. A switch had been flipped that would never flip back.

But looking back, maybe it wasn’t a switch at all. Maybe it was more of a snowball that had already been pushed down the hill at a much earlier age. My mother has a big file with all the “books” I wrote as a kid. I would write, and my brother would illustrate. One was a Beetle Bailey comic story of all things.

I have fond memories of both my parents when it comes to storytelling. My mother’s reading voice still evokes strong emotions from me that are connected to her reading books to me as a child. And my father loved to tell stories to us, accented with a host of unique and colorful voices.

I believe that everyone is connected to story in powerful and subconscious ways. But for me, it goes even deeper. I am caught in that giant snowball now, rolling uncontrolled down the hill, arms flailing.